Monday, April 29, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
At the beginning of our weeklong educational trip to Cambodia, our PEPY tour guides warned us not to give money to child beggars, explaining how the majority of begging children do not receive the benefits of their efforts and are instead exploited by adults seeking to collect additional wages. Naturally, tourists are attracted to performing charitable deeds while vacationing in developing countries and tend to do so through direct donations to children. What vacationers often fail to realize, however, is the negative implications of their seemingly helpful actions. In recent years, these harmful charitable practices have become especially prevalent within orphanages, which are increasingly common travel destinations for kind-hearted visitors. The conditions children are subjected to in such orphanages, however, frequently defy the provisions set forth in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which 193 countries are parties, including all of those cited in this post with the exception of Bali. By encouraging mandatory security checks for volunteers working with vulnerable populations, promoting governmental action, and educating well-intentioned travelers on the negative effects of “voluntourism,” children will hopefully be seen less as commodities and more as dignified members of a future generation, members who must be afforded their fundamental rights.
Monday, April 15, 2013
The Climate Displacement Gap: A Survey of Legal Options for the Protection of Individuals Displaced by Natural Disaster and Slow-Onset Climate Change
Source: © Reuters/Adrees Latif
Crisis after crisis, natural and climate change-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms have displaced people from their homes in countries around the world. Though a causal link between any weather event and climate change is difficult to prove, climatologists have long believed that climate change will result in an increase in extreme weather events. Floods, droughts, and storms almost always impact the lives of individuals, forcing them to flee their homes as a result of safety or reduced food supply, among other factors. In 2005 for example, Hurricane Katrina left a wake of more than 400,000 displaced residents. In 2010, over 20 million people were affected, and 8 million displaced, by the floods in Pakistan. In addition to these more immediate natural disasters, slow-onset climate change-related disasters such as drought, desertification, salination of groundwater, and the rise of sea levels have contributed to massive displacement worldwide. Decreased agricultural output and the collapse of fisheries have also been indirectly linked to climate change. For example, slow-onset climate change in the Sahel, namely erratic rainfall, combined with high food prices, led to a food crisis in 2012 that left 18 million people without sufficient food and put one million children at risk of starvation.
Connection to Human Rights
Climate displacement implicates human rights by threatening lives, food security, livelihoods, water access, health, and safety, among other critical needs. Women, children, and other vulnerable populations are often disproportionately affected. Additionally, underlying factors such as poverty, social injustice, and weak government capacity to respond greatly exacerbate a country’s ability to prevent displacement and protect those who become displaced, once vulnerable to climate change. In the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, for example, incredible rates of poverty and weak human rights institutions have intensified the impacts of climate change exposure. The 2010 Pakistan floods particularly demonstrated need for better international human rights transparency, institutions, and monitoring, and the creation of mechanisms that allow for the resolution of human rights issues in the context of climate displacement. In this light, the challenges of climate displacement must be seen as implicating existing human rights instruments such as the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), in addition to new frameworks.
Climate displacement can be a means to work with governments to strengthen their human rights institutions and commitments: it may be easier to advocate for human rights to governments in terms of climate change rather than political upheavals. One option is to encourage countries to incorporate human rights standards into natural disaster law and policies. For example, Daniel Petz, Senior Research Assistant on Natural Disasters of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement has worked with various governmental disaster managers to incorporate the IASC Operational Guidelines on the Protection of Persons in Situations of Natural Disasters in national disaster law and policies, which promote and facilitate a rights-based approach to disaster relief.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Thursday, April 4, 2013
“Sales from $3,” announces the website of H&M, a retail clothing company that quickly and cheaply manufactures clothing inspired by current fashion trends. The ongoing popularity of affordable fashion is evident in the success of brands like H&M and its contemporaries, as even the First Lady has embraced the trend geared to the buyer on a budget.